The answer to providing more housing for the UK is a difficult one which raises many challenges. What are the Modern Methods of Construction and how can building surveyors assess these different types of construction?

The term ‘Modern Method of Construction’ can be misleading and has become the go-to phrase when describing any non-conventional type of construction. The more accurate terminology to use would be offsite, non-traditional or manufactured construction methods.

Prefabricated reinforced concrete (PRC) were a post-war experiment, and timber-framed construction has been slow to change peoples perceptions. With timber-framed houses, they are mostly clad with the same conventional finishes. So to most untrained people they just appear to be of a traditional construction type.

When looking at commercial building projects most hotel chains, fast food restaurants and student accommodation providers opt for an off-site building method. These are usually modular new build units. Self-builders are also moving away from traditional construction methods and using Insulated Concrete Formwork (ICF) as it’s a lot easier to manage the lightweight components. Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are also used to reduce construction time on building sites.

The Advantages

The advantages to offsite methods of construction include the ability to monitor the quality of the building. The quality can be managed within a factory leading to more accurate construction than on a site.

It’s easier to train the workforce to this type of building property construction. It also takes a shorter amount of time to build the property, meaning that there is less exposure to the elements during construction. The shorter build time is also beneficial to the client and neighbours, which with traditional construction methods can be inconvenienced for much longer periods.


As Building Surveyors the increased variations of building construction pose a problem when it comes to identifying the materials used and assessing the property. It is important to identify the non-traditional types of construction even when they are hidden by the conventional looking outside skin.

A Property Surveyor must be able to look at the underlying structure and analyse the method of construction used. If you have questions about the construction methods used in a property please get in touch for more advice.

Speak to Richard Benwell if you need advice for your building project in Cornwall.